My New Definition of “Long Run”

Today officially marks the day of my farthest run since the NYC Marathon, when I aggravated my injury and sidelined from myself running for almost three months. (Are you wondering if I’m living in regret? I’m totally not. I loved that experience and what I’ve learned from it).

After I charged up my completely dead Garmin and went to set the distance, I saw this:

No, I'm not quite ready for that yet.

The last time I set the distance, I set it at 26.20 miles. It was still set on that mileage from November 6th, 2011.  Today, I pulled my Garmin out of retirement, prepared for one mile of running. I decided on the magic number “one” because I’ve been doing well with 10-ish minute runs and am deathly afraid of pushing too hard too quickly and injuring myself all over again. More on that later.

I decided to head for a path I used to train on. For the past few weeks I would either hit the treadmill to decrease the pounding (as opposed to concrete), or just head out my front door and do a few laps around the block. I’ve been nostalgic and missing the quietness of my little running trail so I opted to venture that way on this lovely 50 degree day.

I warmed up and stretched/foam rolled before I left the house, and then walked for a bit before I started running.  A half-mile into the run the back of my knee felt a little uncomfortable. I immediately became frustrated and considered stopping. But, I figured I could try pushing through – sometimes your body just needs some loosening up, right? So I kept going and the soreness stopped about a minute later. Victory!

I set out to run a mile. I felt GREAT. I kept going. Here’s how it ended up:

This may look horrible to you but it's SUCCESS for me at this point!

I didn’t plan the distance/time  (1.83 miles and 17:13) and the randomness seriously bothers me. I need even numbers and straight lines and organization (the phrase you’re looking for is “Obsessive Compulsive”).  Again, my original goal was one mile, but I wasn’t feeling soreness or pain so I kept going. I stopped when I started to feel a little  nagging soreness that I believe was just due to my transition back to running. Regardless of the short, slow miles, I am SO PUMPED about almost reaching two PAIN FREE miles!

Thumbs up for my new definition of "long run"!

SIDENOTE Question for you Garmin gurus: on a Forerunner, how can you get back to the screen that shows mileage if you run longer than the distance you set originally? For example, I set my watch for one mile. When I continued after a mile, it only showed “time” after that. I didn’t actually know I was at 1.83 miles at my stopping point. I probably would have finished with an even two.

Now, back to that “deathly afraid to push too hard while injured” situation.

I’ve always believed that you need to push through pain to see improvement (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, etc…etc…). But sometimes there’s a fine line between “not making an effort” and simply being conservative.  When injured, how can you distinguish between pushing yourself past self-imposed limitations to continue improving, and when do you need to stop and evaluate what’s really going on? Although I feel fairly knowledgeable as to what type of pain is good and what is not,  this is my first injury and I’m having a hard time deciding what I should push through and what I shouldn’t mess around with. Paying attention to what your body tells you is important; but in the case of my knee soreness today, I’m certain that pushing past it was totally okay. You’d think I would KNOW what “bad pain” is, but I tend to overreact. I don’t trust myself sometimes.

Anyway, on Tuesday I did some jogging with fast pickups and felt good afterward. I am obviously progressing and am beyond thrilled.

What do you think? Is it as simple as “what doesn’t feel right?” How do you motivate yourself to push past limitations? Lastly, I have a non-related question: Do you think BioFreeze is helpful or is it just a skin-irritating agent?

Happy Friday! Cheers!

 

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